The collection is arranged into ten series. The largest series housing Subject Files is arranged alphabetically, primarily by name of correspondent, maintaining Taylor's original arrangement. The remaining series are arranged in chronological order. Oversized material from various series has been housed in Box 21 (Sol) and OV 22 and is noted in the Series Description/Container Listing Section at the appropriate folder title with see also/see references. Series 1: Biographical Material, 1918-1985, undated (Box 1; 6 folders) Series 2: Miscellaneous Receipts, 1929-1986, undated (Box 1; 11 folders) Series 3: Insurance Records, 1960-1976 (Box 1; 1 folder) Series 4: Notes, 1921-1984, undated (Box 1; 18 folders) Series 5: Writings, 1924-1971, undated (Box 1-2; 51 folders) Series 6: Art Work, 1916-1975, undated (Box 2; 14 folders) Series 7: Scrapbooks, 1885-1956 (Box 2, 21; 10 folders) Series 8: Printed Material, 1914-1990, undated (Box 2-3, 21; 29 folders) Series 9: Photographs, 1908-1984, undated (Box 3, 21; 0.7 linear feet) Series 10: Subject Files, 1885-1991, undated (Box 3-21, OV 22; 18.0 linear feet)
Access Note / Rights:
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.
The collection measures 20.4 linear feet, dates from 1885 to 1991 (bulk dates 1908-1986) and documents the career of Harlem Renaissance lithographer, teacher, and painter Prentiss Taylor. The collection consists primarily of subject/correspondence files (circa 16 ft.), reflecting Prentiss' career as a lithographer and painter, his association with figures prominent in the Harlem Renaissance, notably Carl Van Vechten and Langston Hughes, his activities as president of the Society of Washington Printmakers and other art organizations, his work in art therapy treating mental illness, and his teaching position at American University. The subject files contain mostly correspondence, but many include photographs and printed material. Also included are biographical, financial, legal and printed material; several hundred photographs; notes and writings; sketchbooks, drawings and a few prints by Taylor; and scrapbooks dating from 1885-1956.
Prentiss Taylor papers, 1885-1991. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Location of Originals:
Letters from Langston Hughes and from Alice B. Toklas: Originals donated to Yale University Library.
Three notebooks detailing Taylor's lithographs; a gift and sale notebook; a guestbook; exhibition announcements; and a brochure were loaned to the Archives of American Art by Taylor in 1978 for microfilming on reel 1392. These materials are not described in this finding aid.
Prentiss Taylor papers are also located at the Yale University Library.
Prentiss Taylor (1907-1991) was a lithographer and painter from Washington, D.C. Sometimes used pseudonyum Baxter Snark. Studied at the Art Students League and under Charles H. Hawthorne in Provincetown, Mass. During early 1930s, he befriended Carl Van Vechten and collaborated with poet Langston Hughes in publishing booklets relevant to the Harlem Renaissance. Returned to his birthplace, Washington, D.C., in 1935, and widely exhibited his work and associated with many organizations, becoming president of the Society of Washington Printmakers in 1942. Worked as an art therapist at St. Elizabeth's Hospital, 1943-1954 and at Chestnut Lodge, Rockville, Md., 1958-1978. Taught painting at American University, 1955-1975.
Papers on reel 1392 lent for microfilming 1978 by Prentiss Taylor. Additional material microfilmed on reels 5911-5935 donated 1978 and 1984 by Taylor and in 1992 and 2004 by his companion, Roderick S. Quiroz, for Taylor's estate.
The papers of Prentiss Taylor in the Archives of American Art were digitized from 25 reels of microfilm. The papers have been scanned in their entirety, and total 33,253 images. Researchers should note that some images are of poor quality.
Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, 750 9th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20001